Japan finally social distancing after April COVID-19 wave

By April 22, 2020

Japan (MNN) — Japan faces a new wave of confirmed coronavirus cases as the government starts testing more people.

Many have referred to the April uptick as a second wave, the first happening in March, but Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access views it as a delayed wave. Up until the beginning of April, Japan had not seen many cases, even though the virus first arrived in January. Read our full COVID-19 coverage here.

Takazawa says of active cases, “I think the number has been steadily growing. But our country decided to limit the PCR test to see [if people were] positive or negative.” Like most countries, Japan doesn’t currently have the hospital infrastructure to deal with an out-of-control coronavirus outbreak. The country has declared a nationwide state of emergency until May 6.

Near-empty streets in Japan. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons)

Japan’s social distancing measures had also been lax. Takazawa says, “It’s been very difficult in dense cities like Tokyo or Osaka. We’re trying to do it. In the downtown business area, traffic has been reduced significantly. But in the residential area people are still walking around. Of course, we were a highly mask-wearing culture even before this COVID-19 situation, so people are wearing masks.”

As more and more people started exhibiting symptoms, Takazawa says, the Japanese government had to start testing more people. As they did, the number of confirmed cases went up, simulating a “second wave.”

Impacts to ministry

Asian Access works to unify the Church in Japan and other parts of Asia. Takazawa says, “This situation took away that luxury of being together as a community. So we have to change our strategy from face to face to distant connectedness. So, we’ve been shifting almost everything online at this moment.”

Poster from Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

How can ministry be done without physical presence? That is a philosophical shift the Church is going through, Takazawa says. One thing is certain; the love of the Holy Spirit casts out fear. That is needed in Japan and all over the world.

Pray for Japan

Christians in the United States are united with Christians in Japan through the Holy Spirit. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Japan as they face the increased social distancing measures for the first time. Pray that they will not panic but will encourage others through their fearless commitment to Christ.

And remember that Christians in Japan are doing the same thing. Takazawa says, “We are remembering other countries, like New York’s situation and other states that [have] increasing cases. We are praying for the leaders, medical staff, and all these brothers and sisters in North America.”

For the PrayerCast coronavirus video, click here.

 

 

Novel Coronavirus Expert meeting in Japan. This was the first meeting on February 16. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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